Richard Craig Kirkpatrick was born on February 6, 1952, at Exeter, California. His parents are Billy Wayne and Verna Ruth Kirkpatrick. Following his early education at Exeter, he attended Abilene Christian University (1973-76) and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. In 1983, he obtained his Master of Education degree from the same institution.
In 1976, Dick married Nancy Sue Tatko. They have three daughters: Cherish Nicole (1977), Laurel Aime (1980), and Leisel Ciel (1984).
For two years, while attending university, Dick worked as firefighter for California Division of Forestry during the summer vacations.
Following graduation from Abilene Christian University in 1976, Dick Kirkpatrick moved to the Western Christian College campus to teach there until 1989, except for one year of education leave (1982-83). His teaching was mainly in the fields of biology and physical education. He coached a variety of team sports: girls' volleyball, girls' basketball, track and field, badminton, and softball. During the last few years at Western, he devoted more time to coaching boys' teams. For four years (1985-89) Dick was vice-principal of the college.
Dick was chosen as a deacon of the Weyburn congregation in 1985, and worked with the missions committee. He taught the junior high school Bible class on Wednesday nights for seven years.
Dick's success and interest in team sports began in his high school years. At that time he was chosen as the most valuable player on the football team. In university, he was on the first team All- Conference and was selected as the most valuable player (defensive back) in the football team. In 1982, he coached the girls' basketball team at Western that won the provincials. In 1987, he coached the boys' provincial champion volleyball team and in 1988, he coached the boys' basketball team to win the provincial championship.
Dick admits great satisfaction with his coaching experience at the college. In his view, coaching a team sport offers a first-hand opportunity to help mould the characters of young people. He considers that his teaching experience has benefited himself as well, because he had gained strength and expertise in handling young people.